The National Corn Growers Association took another big step toward providing the driving public with lower gas prices and more fuel choice including better access to higher blends of home-grown American ethanol.

NCGA announced the investment of an additional $500,000 to an innovative program called Prime the Pump, which seeks to expand fueling infrastructure capable of delivering higher blends of ethanol fuel to American consumers. This increases the NCGA commitment to $2 million in the last year. 

Prime the Pump will use the funds pledged by corn farmers as matching funds to secure grants under the recently announced program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  USDA's Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is making $100 million in grants available.

"Consumers should have fuel options that include cleaner burning ethanol and this investment will allow us to continue to move forward toward that important goal," said Chip Bowling, president of NCGA and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland.

In addition to NCGA's increased funding commitment, several state affiliates are strongly supporting proposed Prime the Pump projects within their respective states.  Prime the Pump is aimed at retailers with high volumes and multiple locations. Retailers have to commit to a five-year marketing program, E15 must be offered at all dispensers under the canopy, signage on the street must include E15 and retailers must agree to actively promote the fuel.

"Big Oil and others opposed to ethanol keep setting up road blocks, so we need to work all the more to ensure domestic renewable ethanol moves forward," said Bowling. "Family corn farmers are faced with the lowest corn prices in more than a decade and increased ethanol utilization is an efficient way to turn that around and help the U.S. economy and environment at the same time."